Freedom subsumes individual liberty and personal responsibility. If individuals are free to act and also held responsible to bear the consequences for their actions, good outcomes will be reinforce correct behavior and bad outcomes will provide a learning experience. When government gets in the way of this feedback loop, it prevents the development of virtue and merely subjects the individual to the will of the State.
This past Memorial Day brought forth the usual military idolatry. What makes it worse, though, is that this military idolatry is so rampant among Christians and in churches.
And just how can a Christian know if he is guilty of military idolatry? Simple.
Christian, you might be guilty of military idolatry:
- If you send a care package to a U.S. soldier, but not to a missionary.
- If you thank a veteran for his service, but not a pastor, priest, deacon, or minister.
- If you can recite the Pledge of Allegiance, but not the Ten Commandments.
- If you value serving your country more than serving your fellowman.
- If you sing the National Anthem at a sporting event with more enthusiasm than you sing a hymn in church.
- If government welfare spending bothers you, but not government military spending.
- If anti-war rallies make you mad, but cadences recited in basic training don’t make you blush.
- If you shed more tears singing patriotic hymns than hymns of worship about the person and work of Christ.
- If you get more excited about U.S. soldiers killing Muslims overseas than U.S. missionaries preaching the Gospel to them.
- If you pray for the troops more than you pray for the furtherance of the Gospel.
- If you can sing patriotic songs without looking at a song book, but have to look at one to sing hymns of worship.
- If you compare the death of a U.S. solider killed in combat to the death of Jesus Christ for the sins of the world.
- If the murder of American unborn children by American doctors upsets you more than the murder of foreign children and adults by American soldiers.
And how can a Christian know if his church is guilty of military idolatry? This also is simple.
Christian, your church might be guilty of military idolatry:
- If it asks veterans to wear their military uniforms to church on the Sunday before a national holiday like Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, or Veterans Day.
- If it applauds young men who announce their intentions to join the military with more fervor than it applauds young men who announce their intentions to study for the ministry.
- If it has the members recite the Pledge of Allegiance in church on the Sunday before a national holiday.
- If it sends more soldiers to the Middle East than missionaries.
- If it decorates the grounds and buildings with flags on Flag Day, Armed Forces Day, and the Sunday before Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, or Veterans Day.
- If it has special military-appreciation Sundays.
- If it has the members sing patriotic songs on the Sunday before a national holiday.
- If it has the members sing the blasphemous "Battle Hymn of the Republic" at any church service.
- If the sign in front of the church on the Sunday before a national holiday says that as the soldier gave his life for your freedom so Christ gave his life for your soul.
- If it welcomes home U.S. soldiers from war with more enthusiasm than it welcomes home missionaries from foreign fields.
- If it recognizes veterans in church on the Sunday before a national holiday.
- If it offers up more prayers for U.S. troops to be kept out of harm’s way than for foreigners to be kept safe from U.S. bombs and bullets.
- If it justifies Christians serving in the military because the Bible mentions soldiers.
It is no longer safe for non-imperial Christians who think the state should be separated from the church to attend church on the Sunday before Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, or Veterans Day. And woe be unto them if the Fourth of July or Veterans Day falls on a Sunday!
Originally appeared on LewRockwell.com on June 10, 2013.